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Wainwright invested as Southeastern’s 15th president

William S. Wainwright was invested as Southeastern Louisiana University’s 15th president Friday morning in a ceremony held in the Student Union Grand Ballroom on Southeastern’s campus.

Tonya Lowentritt

December 4, 2023

past presidents

 HAMMOND – William S. Wainwright was invested as Southeastern Louisiana University’s 15th president Friday morning in a ceremony held in the Student Union Grand Ballroom on Southeastern’s campus.
     At the ceremony, he was presented with Southeastern’s President’s Chain, a symbol of the authority of the position, by three of the university’s former presidents: Sally Clausen, who served from 1995 – 2001; Randy Moffett, who served from 2001 – 2008; and John L. Crain, who served from 2009 to 2023. Also attending the event were representatives of the UL System Board of Supervisors and the Louisiana Board of Regents.
     Gratitude, humility, and responsibility were a few of the words Wainwright used in his remarks to describe the range of emotions he was feeling as he gazed out over the audience.
     “I am witnessing in real time the awesome power, value and purpose of higher education,” he said. “I see a dedicated university family; a regional and local community galvanized around our collective missions; mentors and coaches; law makers and locally elected officials who share our mission and vision; and my family who have loved, supported, and challenged me to fulfill my purpose in life. For this and so much more, I am truly grateful for this opportunity, and I commit to dedicating my entire being to the success of Southeastern.”
     In his remarks, Wainwright also recognized Clausen, Moffett, Crain, and the 11 former presidents “who built what we know and love today as our Southeastern.” He thanked them for their leadership, sacrifice, vision and unyielding support. 
     Wainwright acknowledged Governor Edwards, the Greater Northshore Legislative Delegation, the UL Board of Supervisors, President of the UL System Jim Henderson, and Commissioner of Higher Education Kim Hunter Reed “for their tireless dedication to higher education and ensuring that all students, faculty and staff have equal access and opportunity to prosper and thrive as a result of our mission.” 
     He credited the Louisiana Community and Technical College System with building him as a higher education leader. He said the system taught him how to succeed and fail with grace and humility, enabled him to lead state and national higher education strategic initiatives, and sent him across the globe to advance education access and professional development for students, faculty and staff.
     When addressing the students, Wainwright told them their success is vital to the strength of our communities, state and nation. 
      “Southeastern provides a one-billion-dollar economic impact in our region. That translates to strong communities and economies built by our graduates,” he said. “Most importantly, this means that the success of our Southeastern team results in greater social mobility for our graduates, therefore sustaining generations of families through the value proposition of our mission.”
     Wainwright pledged to recruit, retain and sustain faculty excellence, continued investment in innovation through research and technology, and that facility enhancement and expansion will remain front and center.
     “As a university family, we have weathered many storms and our collective resilience will carry us through anything that will try to distract us from accomplishing our mission in the future,” he added. “With a focus on our core values of excellence and caring and commitment to data driven strategic planning and execution, Southeastern will garner historic endowments and private investment that will build a future forward culture of excellence. And we will get there, together.”


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